Thursday, May 19, 2016

Die of Shame

Mark Billingham, the author of "Die of Shame" is a comedian. I remember the first time I heard him speak (as a writer, not as a Seinfeld), he mentioned his book titles were intended to make the job easy for the reviewers, as in:

  • "Lifeless" - a perfect title for this piece of rubbish novel
  • "Buried" - it certainly should be.
He continued the theme with "Good as Dead" and "The Dying Hours". And now - "Die of Shame". What was he daring critics to say?

And now, the actual review.

"Die of Shame" is not a Tom Thorne novel. Tom makes an appearance in the very last chapter (Phil cameos earlier), but the Detective Inspector who leads the murder investigation is a new face, Nicola Tanner. Refreshing that it's a woman, and I'm looking forward to seeing her personality develop in future books.

I liked the experimental structure of the book. I liked the idea: a group of addicts meets every Monday night for their therapy session, and then one of them is murdered (for a while, we don't even know which one). What I didn't like were the characters. Not a single one of them. OK, they're addicts, and they've done some terrible things. But they're not - nice. You know? I wouldn't want to be friends with them. I wouldn't want to meet them for lunch. I actually didn't care who'd done it, I just wanted him or her to do it again, until nobody of the group was left.

Don't get me wrong, it's actually a good book. Good plot and all. I wouldn't die of shame if I'd written it.

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